ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Little is known about the use of organic food during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to describe characteristics associated with the use of organic food among pregnant women participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). METHODS: The present study includes 63,561 women who during the years 2002-2007 answered two questionnaires, a general health questionnaire at gestational week 15 and a food frequency questionnaire at weeks 17-22. We used linear binomial regression with frequent versus rare use of organic food as outcome variable and characteristics of the respondent as independent variables. The outcome variable was derived from self-reported frequency of organic food use in six main food groups (milk/dairy, bread/cereal, eggs, vegetables, fruit and meat). RESULTS: Organic eggs and vegetables were the food items which were most frequently reported to be used "often" or "mostly". The proportion of women reporting frequent intake of organic food was 9.1% (n=5754). This group included more women in the lower (40 years) age-groups, with normal or low body mass index, who were vegetarians, exercised regularly (3+times weekly), consumed alcohol and smoked cigarettes during pregnancy (p
Little is known about the potential health effects of eating organic food either in the general population or during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to examine associations between organic food consumption during pregnancy and the risk of pre-eclampsia among nulliparous Norwegian women.
Prospective cohort study.
Norway, years 2002-2008.
28 192 pregnant women (nulliparous, answered food frequency questionnaire and general health questionnaire in mid-pregnancy and no missing information on height, body weight or gestational weight gain).
Relative risk was estimated as ORs by performing binary logistic regression with pre-eclampsia as the outcome and organic food consumption as the exposure.
The prevalence of pre-eclampsia in the study sample was 5.3% (n=1491). Women who reported to have eaten organic vegetables 'often' or 'mostly' (n=2493, 8.8%) had lower risk of pre-eclampsia than those who reported 'never/rarely' or 'sometimes' (crude OR=0.76, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.96; adjusted OR=0.79, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.99). The lower risk associated with high organic vegetable consumption was evident also when adjusting for overall dietary quality, assessed as scores on a healthy food pattern derived by principal component analysis. No associations with pre-eclampsia were found for high intake of organic fruit, cereals, eggs or milk, or a combined index reflecting organic consumption.
These results show that choosing organically grown vegetables during pregnancy was associated with reduced risk of pre-eclampsia. Possible explanations for an association between pre-eclampsia and use of organic vegetables could be that organic vegetables may change the exposure to pesticides, secondary plant metabolites and/or influence the composition of the gut microbiota.